Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

SOLUTIONS: How to lure critters away from the garden

  • Print

QUESTION: We have a problem with red squirrels and chipmunks digging in our potted plants and flower beds. They dig up the plants as well as the soil. Any suggestions as to how to make them leave our plants alone? Carol, Winnipeg

ANSWER: What works for one will not necessarily work for them all, here are the most effective solutions to try. Begin by distracting your furry friends with a bowl of store-bought food made specifically for them. Place the bowl far enough away from the pots but close enough that they will see their food. Wrap chicken wire over plant pots and make holes for the plants. They are unable to chew through the wire. Or secure large rocks over the soil making sure that they cannot lift the rocks. Human hair, blood meal, dog fur and fox urine seem to lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.

QUESTION: I recently removed the filter from my dishwasher to clean it. It was hopelessly caked with dried-on soap scum, so I tried many things to dislodge the scum without success. Finally, I used CLR, which did the trick. Unfortunately, I used my stainless-steel kitchen sink for this cleaning exercise, and I now have a rainbow-colored ring around the sink where the CLR/water was. Is there anything I can do to remove this stain? Erin, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Put the plug into the sink and fill it with hot water and half a cup of washing soda. Leave for 10 minutes and then drain. Rinse well with water, and dry. Polish with olive oil.

QUESTION: My three-year-old son got scribbled with a pen on our new recliner. It is blue ink on fabric upholstery that is mostly light grey. What can I use to get the ink off? Thanks so much. Julie, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Although I don't know the type of textile that you are referring to, my favourite place to begin when it comes to ink on upholstery is by rubbing shaving cream onto the upholstery and scrubbing it with a light-coloured cloth.

QUESTION: What kind of food is recommended for freezing and which foods should be avoided? Amber, Otterburne

ANSWER: With the exception of eggs in shells and canned foods, many foods are freezable. It is important to note some foods do not freeze well. Some foods that change in taste, consistency and texture are; mayonnaise, cream sauce, cream cheese, creamed cottage cheese, sour cream, fried foods, cake icing made with egg whites and raw veggies such as lettuce lose their crispness.

QUESTION: In a previous article you stated that setting plush toys outside and allowing them to freeze for 24 hours kills bacteria. I believe freezing is how laboratories preserve bacterial specimens for research. Also, if that is true, all the meat that we keep in the freezer would become sterile and we would not have to worry about E. coli.

I am writing this because after reading this article, moms would now think freezing plush toys would make them safe. Elizabeth, Winnipeg

ANSWER: You make great points! Some single-celled organisms are harmful to humans and animals while other bacterium is integral in sustaining our everyday lives. Many bacteria organisms require two essentials in their environment; oxygen and moisture. While this is not the case for all bacteria, it is the case for some. The meat you mentioned is rich in moisture and therefore freezing meat will not allow bacteria to die. Furthermore toilet seats, for example, harbour fewer bacteria than cellphones due to the accumulation of moisture on mouthpieces and moist hands.

If you're concerned and would like to take further action to clean stuffed toys, you may opt to wipe them with the use of chemicals such as Lysol wipes or sprays or take them to a professional drycleaner. Heat is also a great way to kill bacteria but not always an option, since the fibers of many stuffed toys shrink with heat and ruin them.

Slimy Tip of the Week

*Get rid of slugs. Open a can of beer and pour half into a plastic container. Place container near damaged plants at dusk. Repeat every evening until slugs are gone.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my brand new videos/blog/website:!


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2013 F4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Andrew Ladd talks about his injury

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS STANDUP - pretty sunflower in field off HWY 206 near Bird's Hill Park Thursday August 09/2007
  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google